I live in Ypsilanti, MI, right next to Ann Arbor. I was told by all the LFS that the pH in the area is 8.2 and that most people keep African cichlids because of that. So yes, it's true that the pH is really basic around here. But, I keep soft water tetras and blue rams without any problems, and the water in my tank is usually around 6.4 without using RO water. I was skeptical, but I used Aquasoil Amazonia in my tank along with two nice sized pieces of malaysian drift wood, and CO2. I'm not sure if it's just a lucky combination or what, but I've managed to keep my pH is a good range for these fish, even though the water comes out of my tap at 8.2. You just have to try a few different things, rather than just relying on one.
I have a bottle of Seachem Acid Buffer, but I've never used it in my tank, just for recharging purigen. I don't think I'd use it in my tank because the stuff makes water reek like rotten eggs. There are definitely other ways to get the results you want.